Like many people, Danny gained weight during lockdown.
But he admits that the changes the Covid pandemic brought led his eating to get out of control.
“I knew that I had put on a lot of weight. I had a binge eating problem, especially with chocolate, and I already had health issues – I had diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Walking upstairs made me out of breath and my knees and hips were sore, which wasn’t normal for someone aged 39.”
When Danny made an appointment with his GP for another reason, they took routine blood tests - but within 12 hours they called him and asked him to return urgently for a serious chat.
“Lose weight, or live a shorter life”
During his visit, Danny learned how bad things were with his health. His blood sugar levels were dangerously high, his cholesterol was 8.2 – far above the safe level - and his blood pressure was, in his words, “off the scale.” Danny’s GP warned him that things were serious and that he needed to take action as he was at risk of losing a limb or even early death.
It was the wake-up call that Danny needed. He remembers, “I talked to my wife, and then a friend who had had a gastric sleeve procedure and achieved great results. I picked her brains about what surgery could involve, and she was honest with me – she warned me that it wasn’t a quick and easy fix, and I’d need to accept that my lifestyle would completely change if I had surgery.”
Danny conducted a lot of research while he was making his decision about what to do about his weight. “I looked at surgery as being the last resort for me. People view it as an easy way to lose weight, but it definitely isn’t. I had a realistic view of what having bariatric surgery would entail. I maybe didn’t understand how drastically life would change, but when I decided on surgery, I went into it with my eyes open.”
And Danny says that seeing TOWIE star James Argent’s weight loss journey spurred him on, too. “I could see that he had the same body shape as me, and everything he said about his relationship with food I could relate to. It’s so easy to put off doing anything about being overweight and keep going round in that bad habit cycle. He’s done so well, and his results have been amazing.”
All or nothing
“I’m a very competitive person – it’s all or nothing with me!” Danny smiles. “I knew that I’d have an intensive 2-week pre-op diet in the run up to the surgery to shrink my liver, but once I’d made the appointment for the operation, I started changing what I ate straight away. I made slight changes so that my body could start prepping for it. My surgeon had told me to lose 10 kilos in advance, and I lost 15 kilos – that was my competitive side showing!”
Danny underwent his gastric bypass with no issues, and quickly started adjusting to his new way of living. “It’s really important to be fully prepared for how your lifestyle will change – for example, it took me a while to get used to the 20/20/20 rule, where you take food the size of a 20 pence piece, chew 20 times, and allow 20 seconds between each mouthful.
“When I look in the mirror at home, I can’t see any difference at all in my body – it’s weird! I’m glad that I took my measurements before the procedure, and I’ve continued to take them regularly as I lose weight. It shows what I’m achieving - so far, I’ve lost over 3 metres from various areas all over my body, and I’m just over 7 stone lighter after only 4 months.
“My weight loss stalls sometimes, but you have to trust the process – it all takes time. When I started going to the gym and doing weight training, I didn’t necessarily lose pounds, but I was losing centimetres.”
A new outlook…
These days, Danny has a new way of looking at how and what he eats. “Sometimes I do eat too much, or eat the wrong things, but I know I need to be disciplined – if I mess up one day, I just reset and start again the next.”
One of the original goals that Danny had set himself was to lose 12 stone in 12 months, but he’s now more relaxed about having targets like this. “I’m tall – 6 feet 2 inches – and I have a big frame. I’m doing weight training, so I realise that that getting to 14 stone may not be possible. I might look too thin, so at the moment I’m aiming for 15 stone 8 lbs, which is 99 kilos – so I can at last say I’m under 100 kilos.”
Danny has some insights for anyone who may be considering weight loss surgery themselves. “I’d recommend doing your research so that you know exactly what’s in store. Plus I’d advise taking lots of pictures beforehand, even if you hate getting your picture taken, and take lots of measurements too. That way, you can see how far you’ve come and it’ll spur you on to achieve more after the procedure.”
…and a new kind of life
“All my life, it’s been all or nothing for me - there are no half measures where I’m concerned, and that’s especially true when I’m in the gym now!” Danny laughs. “I am quite harsh on myself, and keep pushing till I can’t do any more. I’m doing at least 5 sessions a week, if not more, and my personal trainer keeps pulling me back from doing too much.
And he’s loving being able to shop on the high street for clothes now that he’s lost so much weight. “I can buy something off the rack, which was one of the goals I’d set myself. Before, I shopped in specialist stores – I’d laugh it off, and say that I’d be better off dressing in a duvet cover. Now it feels amazing! I’ve achieved so many of the goals that I said I’d reach by Christmas - I’m already there.”
It’s not just physical changes that Danny’s experienced. “Mentally, I feel much more alive, and I’m setting myself goals I never would have imagined before. I realised that I had to face up to a whole raft of things personally, and to be honest my weight loss journey has been brilliant. The only thing I’d go back and change is to have had the procedure sooner.
“I’ve never been so energetic. I’m getting stronger and lifting weights that I never could before. I’m working towards completing a 5k run before Christmas and then the Great Manchester 10k run next year to raise money for charity. Back in March, I couldn’t run a bath!”
Danny’s stats after 12 weeks
Had surgery 25th March 2022 at The Pines Hospital in Manchester
Weight: Was 26 stone, now 18 stone 12 lbs
Diabetes: Was 88, now 43 (diabetic to pre-diabetic level)
Cholesterol: Was 8.2, now 3.2
Blood pressure: Was High, now Normal
Clothes size: Was 6XL, now XL
Waist: Was 60 inches, now 38 inches
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